Feature

Invasion of the glowing sea pickles

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  01 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6426, pp. 445
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6426.445

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

As unusually warm water swept across the west coast of North America in recent years, one odd and notable effect was the sudden appearance of tropical pyrosomes in the waters of the Pacific Northwest. These odd cigar-shaped creatures, commonly known as sea pickles, are roughly as long as a hand and can glow in the dark. They are also voracious eaters, devouring vast quantities of plankton. Now, scientists are scrambling to understand what impacts they might have on marine ecosystems. But studying them isn't easy. They quickly die in captivity. Huge schools of them vanish unexpectedly. Scientists are wondering how long they will even stick around, as the water returns to more normal temperatures.